Matthew 6: 26-34
I've been worrying a lot lately. You see, we know that we can't make the cabin work (very well at least) with four people (take the cabin challenge: move 2 adults and a toddler into a 10x15 foot cabin without running water and then add an infant on the way and you'll see what I mean). So I've been trying to figure out a way to design a budget with rent payments and water and all the rest of the things that would be wonderful additions to daily life. And I just didn't see how we could possibly do it.
Now the amount that we were off by wasn't a huge amount and probably wouldn't seem like all that much to some people, but it was beginning to seem pretty insurmountable to me.
Since trying to balance the budget and failing so miserably, I've been a bit difficult to be around. I've nagged Paul for buying a soda to stay awake during his night shift. I've scrutinized the credit card bill and been sick over the $250 a month that goes to gas stations (apparently the 600 mile round trip commute for Paul's school is expensive even with a Prius). I exasperated the whole migraine problem I've been having by stewing about the budget and was very tempted to cut one little thing out that would have "solved" the whole problem very neatly.
You may have already guessed it: Tithing.
It's funny because we used to make much more than we do now and yet we spent and spent and spent (and saved some) and, because we were still most definitely lower class, we were able to justify not tithing and told ourselves that it was something that we would do someday. A year ago something changed. I'd watched our parish struggle to pay bills month to month for almost a year and suddenly a light went on in my head: we may not make much, but we were still members of our parish and we still needed to do everything that we could to support it.
Paul was all for the idea when I brought it up. It became our New Years Resolution for 2009. And while the amount is small I knew that cutting that weekly check out to balance the budget simply wasn't an option. So I didn't bring it up.
I put my little budget folder aside and after a few more days of feeling stressed stopped thinking about it. Sadie keeps me so busy that being distracted isn't particularly hard to do and I've been keeping my hands busy with knitting and needlepoint for a money-making idea I've been cooking up (more on that later).
We had driven by the two apartment complexes that were at the top of our list, but that was even more discouraging. One of the complexes was very expensive for our area and while we weren't sure about the second complex it didn't look like they were renting. There were no big welcoming "2 bedroom/1 bath" signs up.
Yesterday while driving into town with my parents we stopped by the second complex to see if anyone was in the office. The manager was standing outside and while there is a problem (they are full right now) there is an even bigger upside. I've been walking around with a huge grin on my face.
This beautiful apartment complex is 100% HUD subsidized. The manager said the rent runs from $30 a month to $1050 a month and then said that there is a family of two with an income similar to ours (and rent is based on income) and that they pay $150 a month. I almost started jumping up and down! And the wait list is 3-6 months... I can wait 3-6 months for a $600 reduction in rent (the difference between the two apartments)!
As we drove home from Mass today after dropping off our application I began to think of the verse at the top of this page. God takes care of all of us. It may not always be in the way that we planned, and it doesn't always make as much sense as it did this time around, but in my experience when I trust in Him and stop trying to force my own plans and ideas things tend to work out better.
His way is always better than our own.
Now I just wish I could remember that all of the time.